2018 Lion Dance

2018 Chinese New Year Celebration - Austin, Texas

2018 Chinese New Year Celebration – Austin, Texas

For many, the highlight of the Chinese New Year celebration is the Lion Dance. This is the 6th year I’ve gone to the Austin celebration and you think I’ll be better at perfectly capturing this event. But I find it very challenging. The action is fast, the crowds are thick and it’s now hard to maneuver to the ideal spot. I’ve gotten pickier too. Compositions that would satisfy me previously, no longer make the cut.

Hundreds of frames and only a few that I really like — the worst keeper rate of any event. For this year, I feature two decent photos. At least the best I liked out of this year’s cut. I generally dislike having lots of people in the background, which adds a lot of clutter. At least in the first photo, the people are far enough that they mostly fade away. As a bonus I was able to use the Chinatown Center gate as a semi-dramatic backdrop.

Do you notice the metal fence used for crowd control? That’s a change they made recently. Years ago, there weren’t barricades and it was easier to move to a better spot. But as the event grows and safety becomes a bigger issue, it’s an understandable precaution. The firecrackers were fired too far to get clean shot. Luckily they do the lion dance in multiple places.

2018 Chinese New Year Celebration - Austin, Texas

This is the photo I captured in front of the MT Market, which is the next stop after the Chinatown Center Gate. I stood on a wall this year for a different, higher perspective. I did some post processing and some minor compositing to create this. My goal is to capture the lions dancing in close proximity of exploding, fiery firecrackers, for optimal drama.

We had a brief shower during this show which made it a bit messy. Rain and smoke didn’t make for a pleasant combination. That said, it was a fun time and it didn’t dampen the spirit of the new year. Which, by the way, is the year of the Dog.


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